SERB POLICE IN KRAVICA BANS RELATIVES FROM LAYING FLOWERS TO GENOCIDE SITE
“They didn’t let us pass, they didn’t even let us lay flowers,” Munira Subasic, head of a Srebrenica women’s association, told Reuters from a bus returning to Sarajevo under police escort. “It’s like it’s 1995 all over again, we are on a bus under Serb escort,” Subasic said. “This is such an injustice, so unbelievable. I cannot even cry.”
Kravica is a village in Bratunac municipality, just outside of Srebrenica. It was a heavily armed Serb village from which Serbs bombed Srebrenica with artillery. On 3 September 1991, on the brink of the war, the Eastern Bosnia’s first victims of ethnic violence were killed when a group of Kravica policemen and paramilitary nationalists ambushed a car of Bosniaks, killing two out of three people inside. None of the policemen and accomplices in the attack were ever brought to trial.
By January 1993, Serb forces ethnically cleansed 90% of the eastern Bosnia from Bosniaks and slaughtered about 1,000 Bosniak civilians in the area.
On 7 January 1993 (Orthodox Christmas day), the Bosniak forces under the command of Naser Oric counter-attacked and captured Kravica, a Serb military stronghold at the time. An estimated 25 Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) soldiers were killed and 36 wounded. 11 civilians were also killed and most of the houses were damaged in the battle.
In order to justify Srebrenica genocide, Serbian nationalists have propagated grossly inflated claims that over 3,000 Serb civilians were murdered around Srebrenica. Some Serb sources, such as Srebrenica genocide denier Milivoje Ivanisevic, allege that Kravica’s 353 inhabitants were “virtually completely destroyed.” Both these accounts were discredited by the International Criminal Tribunal. A press briefing by the ICTY Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) dated 6 July 2005 noted that the number of Serb deaths in the region alleged by the Serbian authorities “[does]not reflect the reality.”
On 13 July 1995, Serbs carried executions of 1,500 Bosniak civilians in the largest of four warehouses (farm sheds) owned by the Agricultural Cooperative in Kravica. The Bosniak civilians and the prisoners of war were locked in the warehouse. At around 18.00 hours, Serb soldiers soldiers threw in hand grenades and opened fire with various weapons, including an anti-tank gun, and slaughtered them. At Kravica, it seems that the local population had a hand in the killings. Some victims were mutilated and killed with knives. The bodies were taken to Bratunac or simply dumped in the river that runs alongside the road. The bodies were first buried in mass graves, then dug out with bulldozers and moved to hide the crime. Victims’ remains are scattered in several graves, taking years to identify.
Although regional court in Bijeljina yesterday rejected the Serb Police’s decision to prevent the genocide survivors and the victims’ relatives from paying respect to their dead in Kravica, the damage has already been done. Bosniaks were prevented from laying flowers on one of the largest genocide sites in Kravica as part of the 13th commemoration of Srebrenica genocide
“We won’t give up, we’ll come again,” Subasic said. “Only next time we won’t announce our arrival.”